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Monday, 22 October 2018
Page: 10556


Ms SHARKIE (Mayo) (10:37): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

It's been said that climate change is the great moral challenge of our generation and, by the other side of this House, that climate change policy is an exercise in risk management where no reasonable person could regard the risk as being so low that no action is warranted.

The foundation of good policy development is a solid and growing body of evidence that is accessible to both the public and the experts. For climate change policy, this means scientific data. The government currently collects estimates of Australia's national greenhouse gas inventory—more colloquially known as 'emissions data' or 'climate change data'—on a quarterly basis, but it refuses to release the data in a timely fashion.

In fact, not only does it delay the release of this critical data but it tries to bury interest in the data by releasing it on days like Christmas Eve or the eve of grand final weekend and similar shenanigans. This should not be. The Australian people, and Australian policymakers, deserve better.

My bill will require the timely publication of quarterly emissions data, including a sector-by-sector breakdown, requiring the minister to table the report containing the data to the parliament within 15 sitting days after receiving it from the department.

Further, the preparation of the report would be required to be in accordance with international guidelines as agreed at the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw 2013.

I was ever so pleased to learn that the Senate took note when I lodged my intention to present this private member's bill on the Notice Paperbecause, just one day later, the Senate finally took action and passed a motion for 'an order of continuing effect'. Preternaturally similar to my bill, this motion requires the government to table their greenhouse gas inventory figures within five months of the end of each quarter or provide an explanation for any delay.

The Senate motion continues to operate until it is repealed. I'm pleased that my bill has been such a positive catalyst for change on this important issue.

I commend the Senate—in particular, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young—for supporting the aims of my bill and for taking my idea and running with it. It is an excellent outcome for everyone who supports evidenced based policy, and surely that should be the catalyst for change in this place. It's a much-needed step to help refocus the government's attention on the increasingly desperate issue that is climate change. We need action now. Mr Deputy Speaker, I am going to speak only briefly on this bill, but I would like to give some of my remaining time to the member for Indi, who is seconding the bill.